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Children's LiteratureIn 1756, Olaudah Equiano and his sister were kidnapped from their home in Nigeria. They became separated, and brother was never to see sister again. Sold as a slave in the English colony of Virginia, Oluada was able to purchase his freedom in 1766. The history and geography of the Middle Passage as told in this fact-filled volume is referenced throughout by the writings of Equiano. In sparse text and illustration filled pages, readers witness the cruelty and mercenary motives behind the slave trade. Graphics include torn paper collage images that serve as metaphoric reminders of the violent separation experienced by the Africans who were ripped from their homes, families, and everything familiar. In counterpoint, the narrative expresses the ordeal factually and unsentimentally. However, the message is clear that the "cargo" of humanity was treated as a salable commodity, not as fellow human beings. Geographic location within the British colonies and types of work performed by slaves is explained. Illustrations accompany each page. The role of Quakers, the cotton gin, and the Civil War on the plight of slaves is explored. A timeline from 1619-1865, a glossary of terms that are bolded in the text, a suggested reading list, addresses of museums, and Internet sites are the features that complete this well documented volume. Title number four in the "Let Freedom Ring" series, this is an excellent addition to a classroom library, or to any collection for contemporary middle readers. 2004, Capstone, Ages 10 to 12.